Industrial Cathedral

Industrial Cathedral
"Industrial Cathedral" charcoal drawing on paper 131 x 131 cm Jane Bennett. This drawing was a finalist in the 1998 Dobell Prize for Drawing (Art Gallery of N.S.W.) ; Finalist in 1998 Blake Prize for Religious Art ; Winner of 1998 Hunter's Hill Open Art Prize

Monday, October 26, 2015

In the Shadows- Painting the Justice and Police Museum

The Sydney Open will be held next Sunday. For just one day a year, the secrets of Sydney’s most treasured and architecturally significant buildings are revealed to the public.
So, in the spirit of this event, I decided to paint one of Sydney's most beautiful sandstone buildings.
Although it was difficult, bordering on the impossible,I managed to set up an easel and paint 'en plein air' right in the heart of the CBD.
Plein air oil painting of the Justice and Police Museum, Sydney Living Museums by heritage artist Jane Bennett
Plein air painting of the "Justice and Police Museum" 2015 oil on canvas 13 x 18cm
 
 
The Justice and Police Museum is one of the city's most overlooked heritage gems. It is hidden away on the quiet leafy corner of Phillip and Albert Streets, a stone's throw from Circular Quay.
It was a tight squeeze for the bendy bus!
Plein air oil painting of the Justice and Police Museum, Sydney Living Museums by heritage artist Jane Bennett
Plein air painting of the "Justice and Police Museum" 2015 oil on canvas 13 x 18cm
 
It incorporates the old Water Police Court (1856), designed by Edmund Blacket; the Water Police Station (1858), attributed to Alexander Dawson and the Police Court (1886), designed by James Barnet. 
The complex had remained in use as a police station as late as 1985, when the area was a busy legal hub.
Today the museum tells the story of the seamy side of Sydney’s past.

Plein air oil painting of the Justice and Police Museum, Sydney Living Museums by heritage artist Jane Bennett
Plein air painting of the "Justice and Police Museum" 2015 oil on canvas 13 x 18cm
 
The golden sandstone, graceful columns and dappled shade give a deceptive impression. 
Behind the elegant facade lurk dingy 1890s holding cells, offices, charge room and courts. A century of underworld Sydney is contained inside.
Plein air oil painting of the Justice and Police Museum, Sydney Living Museums by heritage artist Jane Bennett
Plein air painting of the "Justice and Police Museum" 2015 oil on canvas 13 x 18cm
 
The guilty, the innocent and the unknown.  Mug shots of bushrangers, sly groggers, drifters, razor gangs and "colourful racing identities" rub shoulders with cops and judges.
Plein air oil painting of the Justice and Police Museum, Sydney Living Museums by heritage artist Jane Bennett
Plein air painting of the "Justice and Police Museum" 2015 oil on canvas 13 x 18cm
 

So very Sydney.

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